The Registration Tutorial

introduces resources for choosing and registering for courses during Advance Registration.

Students request courses for the upcoming semester during the Advance Registration period. For incoming first-year students, Advance Registration takes place over a four-week period in the summer before they arrive.

During Advance Registration, students submit their preferred courses, as well as alternative courses, using Penn InTouch, the online registration system. Students can submit their course requests at any time during this period. All course requests are processed at the conclusion of the Advance Registration period, regardless of when the request was submitted. There is no advantage to registering early and no guarantee that students will be enrolled in all their requested courses.

It is very important to take part in Advance Registration. Students who do not advance register may find themselves closed out of the courses they wish to take.

Registration Tips

The Course Selection Period informally known as the Add Period, allows students to visit classes and add and drop courses using Penn InTouch before finalizing their schedules. Unlike Advance Registration, during the Course Selection Period courses are filled as students register for them, so timing is important and students will know immediately if they are enrolled. Students should refer to the academic calendar for specific dates for each semester.

Students may seek to add a class until the end of the Course Selection Period, two weeks into the semester.

During this period, some instructors have their departments impose restrictions on their courses and authorize entry only to students who have been attending regularly.

Students may continue to drop a course after the Course Selection Period has ended. Once dropped, the course will be removed from the transcript. See the academic calendar for dates.

Students may drop a class until the end of the sixth week of the semester by using Penn InTouch and should consult the Academic Calendar for the official Drop deadline for each semester. Failure to attend a course does not automatically result in being dropped from the course. Courses that are dropped will no longer appear on a student’s transcript.

Students considering dropping a course should speak with their pre-major advisor or an advisor in the College Office before taking any action and should be aware of the risks of being enrolled in fewer than 4 c.u.

Students may change the grade type for a course (to or from pass/fail) until the Deadline to Change Grade Type which is a date between the Drop and Withdrawal deadlines.  See the Academic Calendar for exact dates.

After the drop period ends, students may withdraw from a course through the end of the eleventh week of the semester, with the permission of the instructor. Students begin this process by seeing an academic advisor. A grade of "W" will appear on the transcript. See the academic calendar for dates.

The deadline to withdraw from a course for spring 2020 was April 13, 2020.

Students may withdraw from a course through the eleventh week of the semester with the permission of the instructor and should consult the Academic Calendar for the official Withdrawal deadline for each semester. After the eleventh week, students must petition the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standing to withdraw from a course. Such petitions will not be granted without documentation of extenuating circumstances. Withdrawals are indicated on the student's transcript by a report of W and will not affect the student's grade point average.

To withdraw from a course from the seventh through the eleventh week, students should reach out to their College Contact. Information about the College Contact is available under the student's picture in Penn InTouch.

In order to submit a petition to withdraw from a course after the eleventh week, the student should reach out to their College Contact. Information about the College Contact is available under the student's picture in Penn InTouch.

Students should be aware that their petitions may be denied.

Students considering a withdrawal should speak with an advisor before taking any action and should be aware of the risks of being enrolled in fewer than 4 c.u.

Students should understand that failure to enroll in at least 4 c.u., or dropping or withdrawing below that number of credits, may have adverse effects in a variety of circumstances. The most common concerns are for:


All student athletes must complete an average of at least 8 c.u. per year. Carrying less than a full load may jeopardize athletic eligibility. Dr. Niel McDowell is the College’s athletic eligibility officer.

International Students

The visas that allow most international students to study in the U.S. require carrying a full load of at least 4 c.u. per semester. Any reduction in that number may call their visa status into question. Exceptions to this rule are sometimes available. Students should consult with an advisor to determine their options.. The International Student and Scholar Services Office can provide more information.

Students with Financial Aid

Some aid packages require that the student complete an average of 4 c.u. per semester. Students carrying fewer than this amount of credits may be at risk of losing some of their financial aid. Call the Student Financial Services office for more information.

Students on Academic Probation

Students on academic probation must complete exactly 4 c.u. on time, with no grades of F, I, GR (no show) or NR and no more than one pass/fail course.  Students on academic probation who find it difficult to manage a 4 c.u. course load should speak with an advisor in the College Office.

A registration hold may be placed on a student's record that will prevent the student from registering until action has been taken to resolve the issue. If students are unable to register using Penn InTouch, it is their responsibility to contact the College Office or other relevant office promptly to determine the cause of the problem and resolve it in a timely manner. Students may see what registration holds, if any, have been placed on their account by reading the messages on the front page of Penn InTouch.

Any of the following circumstances may prevent a student from accessing Penn InTouch and registering for courses:

  • A first-year student or a first-semester sophomore has not spoken with their pre-major advisor to discuss registration. The student should make an appointment to do so immediately.
  • A second-semester sophomore, a junior or a senior has not declared a major. The student should speak with the pre-major advisor or with an assistant dean for advising in the College Office.
  • A student has a past due balance on their student billing account. Contact Student Financial Services.
  • Student Health Service does not have up-to-date insurance and immunization records.

Other Types of Registration Holds

  • Departmental hold: Certain departments require their majors to speak with a major advisor at points throughout their academic careers. The hold is removed by the department after the student has spoken with their major advisor.
  • Judicial hold: A judicial hold is the result of some judicial action or inquiry concerning the student. The student will be barred from registering until the hold is cleared and should contact the Office of Student Conduct for more information.